What Is Considered an Orthodontic Emergency?

Anytime something doesn’t go according to plan with your braces or aligners, it can cause some type of panic. “Is this normal?” “ What do I do?” “Is it going to get worse?” The most important thing to remember when something goes wrong with your orthodontic treatment is not to panic.

Problems rarely occur, but if they do happen to arise, it’s important to know your next steps. You may be an extremely careful person when it comes to your teeth, yet accidents can still happen. So, what is considered an orthodontic emergency? Here are the most common issues and how to handle them with ease.

Minor Problems

True orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare; however, there are common problems that may occur every once in a while. These problems may not always come at the best times (8 p.m. on a Friday night, perhaps) and they have a tendency to cause some slight discomfort, but they can usually be remedied with a phone call. Minor orthodontic issues include:

  • Loose or broken wires
  • Loose or broken brackets
  • Poking wires
  • General discomfort
  • Loss of Invisalign aligners

Typically, you can wait a couple of days until you have time to stop in and see your orthodontist for a quick fix. In some cases, your orthodontist will advise you on how to fix your problem over the phone. That’s why your first step is calling your orthodontist and explaining the situation.

True Orthodontic Emergencies

A true orthodontic emergency is much more severe and will require a special trip to your orthodontist as soon as possible to correct. These more serious issues include:

  • Infection, which causes swelling in the mouth or face
  • Injury or trauma to the teeth, mouth or face
  • Severe pain in the mouth or face

In these true orthodontic emergencies, the help of a skilled professional is required, so don’t wait. You may even need the help of someone other than your orthodontist, especially if you have injuries to your face or jaw, so your next steps are crucial.

How to Handle a True Orthodontic Emergency

The first thing you need to do if you’re experiencing a true orthodontic emergency is to remain calm. Next, call your orthodontist and explain what happened, how you’re feeling, and what type injuries or symptoms you have. Getting your orthodontist involved as soon as you can is important in the success of what comes next. Keeping them in the loop helps them to better assess the damage and create a plan for how to handle the situation properly. Once you have a plan of attack, get moving on it, so you can stop additional problems from arising or becoming more severe.

As you can see, there can be minor problems that pop up every now and again, which can be handled quite easily; however, if you find yourself in a true orthodontic emergency, your orthodontist will need to know as soon as possible. That way, you can focus on getting better and continuing your treatment.